Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Bizarro World

If you had told me, 20 years ago when I first laid eyes on bizarro brother pop act Sparks that they were someday going to achieve no small amount of critical acclaim late in their career, I would have punched you in the larynx. But here's where it gets really weird: their latest album gets hoisted upon the public by punk scuzz noise merchants In The Red Records (wha..?) followed by Wounded Bird Records reissuing their first two albums, the self-titled Sparks and A Woofer In Tweeter's Clothing. Most surprising is just how good these two early efforts are. The former chugs along nicely thanks to Girl From Germany and Whippings And Apologies, while the latter boasts the heavy hooks of Wonder Girl and Saccharin And The War. Neither reissue provides much-needed liner notes, but considering my man Ron Mael was rockin' the Hitler mustache when these two albums were recorded circa 1972, it's a wonder they've survived to tell the tale this long after the fact.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Pogos Going Steady

Singles Only, the Japanese-import collection of 7-inchers by the long-in-the-tooth Seattle foursome The Briefs traffics in the usual fist-in-the-air pogo pop we know all too well (check out Benny's Got A Cigarette, We Americans and Medication and you get the general idea). For me, the Urine of Excitement starts to flow when they vow karmic retribution towards the musically reprehensible Bob Seger during the blazing sing-along Silver Bullet. If you can find a more stirring anthem this year, I'll eat my dayglo wraparound shades.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Abortion Is God's Way Of Checking The Guest List And Saying "I'm Sorry, And You Are...?"

Isn't anyone else mortified by Safeway's new slogan, "From Your Fetus To Our Store"? Are they proposing to eat America's babies? Why can't President Bush do something about this rampant disregard for human life? Every time a man masturbates into a sock--killing off more of the world's drastically limited supply of sperm--we run the risk of wiping out the entire human population. Every stem cell has the potential of becoming a mystical adult contemporary pop star along the lines of Stevie Nicks. Even when she and Lindsay Buckingham (then known simply as Buckingham Nicks) were unknown, unwanted walking sperm 'n' eggs wandering neon-infested Sunset Boulevard hoping to score a record deal with tracks such as Long Distance Winner and Stephanie, their lives had as much value as any petri dish of test-tube experiments you'd care to name. Sadly, this preemie LP is their only pre-Fleetwood Mac release, and because these songs are Buckingham Nick's precious babies, keeping them from being "born again" is akin to committing infanticide on a level not seen since the great Christian bonfire of albums back in 1966, when The Beatles were more popular with groupies than their main competitor Jesus.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Mother Sky, Sister Moon

Sometimes, when La Luna is aligned with Sagittarius, I shuffle over to the stereo in my oversize kaftan and put on Mother Sky from Can's 2nd album Soundtracks and I just jam and jam and jam, shaking my dreadlocks until they're sore and begging for a good shampoo. Later, I strip down, put on a crisp white shirt (making sure my long translucent neck is jutting out of the collar, buttoned to the top) and play A Kitchen In The Clouds from the Come On compilation The Come On Story, all the while cutting my balding wispy hair to a choppy length. When I look in the mirror, I remind myself that I've been alive forever, and I wrote the very first song. I put the words and the melodies together. I am music and I write the songs.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Back To Your Future

Remember back in January 2006 when I sent some of you my year-end picks Best-Of-2005 CD? And remember how so many of you mocked me and scolded me and bruised my precious feelings for putting the Cansei De Ser Sexy track Acho Um Pouco Bom on there? But now they're the Next Big Thing and you're all listening to their Sub Pop debut and dancing around the house to Off The Hook and Alcohol and Fuck Off Is Not The Only Thing You Have To Show (even though the original Brazil-only version called Fuck Off Rock is so much better)? Well, get ready to emotionally abuse me once again later this year because I predict--thanks to tracks like Wild Moose Party and Siam--I predict the dance-y New Wave B-52's-ness of The Cosmopolitans is going to make them bigger than Jesus, Buddha and L. Ron Hubbard combined. Except that CSS are relatively new and The Cosmopolitans split up 25 years ago. Other than that, my gods can kill your gods.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

¿Cuál es Más Cobarde?

For many years, I have held the belief that Sly & The Family Stone's Loose Booty from 1974's first-comeback-in-a-long-series-of-comebacks Small Talk is The Supremo Funky Burrito, triumphantly holding its arms aloft, trophy in hand, as The Funkiest Song Of All Time. Sly holds the title but Ly Ngua O is the challenger with Vo Chong Lam Bieng, as heard on the Trikont comp Ho! Vietnam Roady Music. Who will win this coveted position, and who will hang their head in shame as they abdicate the throne in bitter defeat? I'm not sure I know the answer, but I'm pretty sure headbutting will be involved.

I've Seen Fire And I've Seen Rain, I've Seen Bloody Days Covered In Blood With Freshly Killed Blood That I Thought Would Never End

To hear the mighty/mellow tracks by folk fiends The You, one would assume the largest injury they'd sustain is Toe-Tappin'-itus, brought on by the mellow easy-going rhythms they conjure. Yet their My Space page shows a battered axe covered with splashes of crimson blood. Good lord, what hell hath James Taylor wrought??? I can't imagine a song such as I'm Going To Kill Myself--despite its morbid title--would lead to such violent mayhem. Perhaps producer du jour Brian Deck (Iron & Wine, Modest Mouse) slashed some skin trying to create a major label silk purse out of an indie-budget sow's ear. Or just maybe the guy on the far right of the photo above physically harmed someone after being told one too many times about his resemblance to not-a-homo thespian Tom Cruise. Either way, should they venture to perform in your hometown, bring plenty of gauze and surgical tape.  [Update: their MySpace page seems to have gone the way of...well, MySpace.]

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Ergo > Therefore

Not Going To Bed (the new single from Andrew WK) is to I Won't Grow Up (from Peter Pan) as Tom Verlaine's All Weirded Out is to Psychotic Reaction. Discuss.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Radical Dude

The anticipation has got me breaking out in hives. I simply cannot wait until Justin Timberlake radically changes the face of pop music as we know it. We have been suffering under the constraints of Jimmie Haskell & His Orchestra for far too long. Free us, Justin! Free us from the shackles of We Get Messages, Weightless Blues, Asteroid Hop and Rockin' In The Orbit! And while you're at it, can you radically change the face of popular cinema as well? I have a feeling you'd be able to show Snakes On A Plane a thing or two.

Friday, July 07, 2006

It Takes One To Know One

George W. Bush and I are a lot alike. For starters, we are both former dum-dum coke-inhaling frat boy alcoholics who only wrangled our way into Yale thanks to our father slipping some green towards the school. Second, we've both been wasting our time and energy: he on Iraq (anyone with half a brain could have told you North Korea is more dangerous than Saddam Hussein), me on latter day ELO (anyone with half a brain could have told you ELO 2 is more dangerous than Out Of The Blue.) I mean, jeez, just listen to Momma... and Born To Die. Don't they make you just...I don't know...want to clear that never-ending brush which seems to creep up on your Texas ranch every vacation time?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Wrap Yourself In Furze

Someday, perhaps in the very near future, Scar Stuff is going to find himself bereft of cheez-ee Halloween albums to post. When that happens, I warmly offer my growing collection of bizarro heavy metal CD's, most of which wallow in the same anti-art which puts the "horror" back in "horrible". Case in point: Seance by Furze, which despite the singer's earnest attempts, is about as frightening as Charlie Brown draped in a hole-y bedsheet.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Homo Nucleus

Camp sensibility and outsider pop smarts walk arm in arm down the wedding aisle in the newest Trikont confection From The Closet To The Charts: Queer Noises, 1961-1978. Deftly juggling the well-known (The Ramones, The Kinks) with the unknown (Trouble At The Cup by Black Randy & The Metro Squad), there's a track here for just about everyone. The stereotypical swishy queen (These Boots by Teddy & Darrel) nuzzles next to wtf?? anomalies (White Trash Hillbilly Trick by Peter Grudzien), intermingled with the occasional way-cool surprise (The Twinkeyz' Aliens In Our Midst). Sadly, lesbians are forced to the back of the bus (Polly Perkins' Coochy Coo is outnumbered 23 to 1) but the entertainment value is so strong overall, maybe we can let it slide while waiting for the potential 2nd volume to rectify this oversight, hint hint. The formerly-MIA Caesar Tjalbo has the entire album available for download, if you're feeling adventurous.